Tips for Implementing Kitchen Routines
We’ve all seen sayings like this one:
“This kitchen is seasoned with love!”
“kich•en |kith-uhn|-noun – a gathering place for friends and family • a place where memories are homemade and seasoned with love.”
Although we all want that for our kitchen it doesn’t always happen especially if you have little ones underfoot and needing your undivided attention.
Today, I want to share with you some ideas for moving your kitchen closer to that place where memories are made and love is found.
I know, I know! You’re whole kitchen’s a mess. The kiddos have toys everywhere and the baby is right underfoot. But consider the following…
Instead of thinking of the whole picture, consider the next best step. After you take that one, take the next best step and so on! Soon, you’ll look up and you’ve conquered your disaster!
Read more about this concept of thinking small.
Divide and Conquer!
Consider what is most important or what will make the most impact on your peace of mind!
For me having the dishes done and a clean, clutter-free island are my two main priorities.
If you have a dishwasher, run it every time it is too full to get ALL of the next meal’s dishes in it! If you hand wash your dishes, wash them and get them put away after every meal. No exceptions.
It is so much easier to take a little extra time and address dishes after every meal than to address, one huge mess when there is nothing left in the cupboards to eat with!
Paper clutter is a challenge on any horizontal surface, but the kitchen, as the most lived in room, carries the brunt of it. Whether it’s the mail or the kiddo’s school papers, don’t put it down as you walk in the door.
- Put it in its place.
- Sort it immediately.
- If it doesn’t have a place, create one!
Workable Tip: For our mail, I have “pay it”, “file it”, and “read it” pockets. Those three options offer an organized location for any paperwork that comes in the door.
Habits aren’t made in a day or even a week. You have to do them over and over again.
Pick a couple doable things to maintain in the kitchen (like I did with the dishes and kitchen island) and focus on those! What I have found is that those tasks become streamlined and then I can also fit in a quick task such as wiping down the cupboards too!
A quick word about Meals!
Whenever possible, double your dinner recipe, divide, take the 2nd half, put in an appropriate freezer-safe container and freeze for another meal!! Or if you don’t double a meal but have enough leftovers for a second meal, freeze the leftovers for a meal later in the month! You can do this with just about any crockpot meal, sloppy joes, chili, lasagna, meatballs, soup, etc!
Activities for Kiddos
Let Kiddos Help
I know some of you just inwardly sighed. I hear you. It’s tough to accomplish anything with kiddos needing you 24/7 let alone letting them help. But, when you can, let them help!
Consider having them hand you things from the dishwasher! It’ll save you a couple steps and a bit of time!
When you are cooking, ask them to retrieve items from the fridge or put things in the sink or garbage as you use them! You’ll end up making a pretty great team!
Leave the actual cooking/baking together for times when you can relax and enjoy the activity together without a time frame!
Play dough is a great activity that will keep your kiddos focused and engaged!
We have two main rules about play dough. The kiddos stay seated at the kitchen table while playing with it and I stay relaxed about bits of it hitting the floor.
The amount of time it keeps them entertained is well worth the clean up time!
Depending on the magnet/toy they can be loud, obnoxious and repetitive. So if you’re already stressed and noise will make it worse, consider offering a different activity.
On the plus side, some magnets like the Leapfrog letters, can be used as an independent learning tool. You can also chime in as you hear them playing so it is not quite so independent. (Mom life)
The “all the unbreakable random things” Drawer
Especially for crawling babies, who want to be right underfoot, this can be a God-send. It can add to the clutter of the floor too, but they can put in and take out to their hearts content. They can bang on plastic containers and it all can be scooped up and thrown back into the low “all the unbreakable random things drawer” for the next go around!
2 Bonus Tips!
- Start dinner at least a half hour before the kiddos are truly hungry.
Stick to this rule as if it was one of the 10 commandments! The kids are really hungry. You’re trying to make dinner, Dad walks in the door. Someone hurts themselves or has a potty accident. Dinner prep time can be a challenging time to manage.So, find the sweet spot!For example, my girls are usually hungry, but not “hangry” at 5pm. So I start dinner in time for them to eat at 5 pm. If I wait until 6, we are closing in on that “hangry” time and that is a wreck waiting to happen!If eating later is unavoidable or something unpredictable occurs that throws off the schedule, I offer a healthy snack. It might “ruin” dinner, but if it’s healthy and keeps the peace, it is worth it!
- 10 Minute Pick-up
This has been a lifesaver for us. Before bed, we go around and do a quick pickup of all the toys and other things strewn about the house. Sometimes, 10 minutes doesn’t allow us the time to pick up everything, but if done consistently every night, it does!
I hope these simple suggestions are helpful to you!
My kitchen isn’t always the perfectly clean “together” place I’d like it to be either. But, sometimes we have to give ourselves some grace and recognize that the relationships in our home are more important than the level of cleanliness or “togetherness” of our homes.
No matter what, you’ve got this, mom! You are here, reading and learning, that says something about you!
Love to you and yours!!
Did I miss any tips? Which tips are you going to try?